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POLICE & COURTS

Gunman robs bank in North Tonawanda

A gunman abducted an off-duty bank employee, forced her to drive to a branch in North Tonawanda, then tied up her and a co-worker before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of money Saturday afternoon.

The bank employee's boyfriend was missing Saturday night, and North Tonawanda police were concerned he may have gotten wrapped up in the heist.

The robbery occurred at about 1 p.m. at the First Niagara Bank, 100 River Road.

The gunman, who was wearing a mask, abducted the bank employee, who then called another employee to meet her at the bank, according to police. The abducted employee drove the gunman to the branch, and once there, the robber forced both women into the bank. He tied them up, then left in one of their vehicles with an undisclosed amount of money, police said.

The vehicle was later located by Niagara Falls police.

Another vehicle belonging to one of the bank employees was discovered missing, as was her boyfriend, William Bradigan, 34.

Police were concerned for the safety of Bradigan and were asking anyone who knew his whereabouts to contact North Tonawanda police at 692-4111.

"We're not making any conclusions at this point. We just want to know if he is OK," said Detective Lt. Thomas Krantz.

Authorities in the area were asked to look out for the 2004 charcoal gray Chevy Trailblazer.

The suspect, described only as a white male wearing a mask, was armed with silver semi-automatic.

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2 Ontario sisters charged with marijuana possession

Two sisters from Ontario were arrested Saturday for trying to cross the Peace Bridge with four pounds of marijuana in the trunk of their car.

The two women tried to cross into the United States at about 2 p.m. Saturday, when a customs agent checked the trunk of their 2006 Chevy Malibu and found the pot, according to Buffalo police reports.

Charged with second-degree criminal possession of marijuana were Liza A. Shurland, 28, and her sister, Luana, 26, both of Pickering, Ont., about 30 miles northeast of Toronto.

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Gunman takes $1,300 from Jewett Ave. man

A man told police he was robbed of $1,300 at gunpoint shortly before 7 a.m. Saturday in front of his home on the 300 block of Jewett Avenue.

The victim said the robber wore a black mask and fired a shot at him from a handgun before fleeing, according to police reports.

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3 UB students robbed, beaten on Minnesota

Three University at Buffalo students reported they were robbed and roughed up just after 11:30 p.m. Friday on Minnesota Avenue.

The three women, who listed residences on the UB North Campus in Amherst, told police they were walking east on Minnesota when two men demanded their purses and other belongings.

When the women refused to hand over the items, the men assaulted them.

The robbers grabbed a Verizon cell phone and $10 before fleeing.

One of the victims suffered two broken teeth; another had a bloody lip; and the third complained of abdominal pain from being kicked.

All three declined hospital treatment.

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Drugging, rape linked to man from chat room

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 25-year-old woman told police she was drugged and raped Friday morning by a Lockport man she had met in an Internet chat room.

The victim told police she met the man a couple of weeks ago and recently invited him to her Walnut Avenue apartment. When he arrived, he immediately tried to force himself upon the woman, police reported.

During the ensuing altercation, the man forced several pills into the woman's mouth as he continued to try to rape her, according to police. The victim said she fell asleep as a result of consuming some of the pills, waking some time later to find the man gone -- along with her cellular phone and several DVDs.

The victim was treated in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, according to police, who said they are seeking a 28-year-old man for questioning.

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Dad used child to help shoplift meat, police say

NIAGARA FALLS -- Police said that a man loaded $40 worth of meat into a shopping bag Friday night and directed his 9-year-old daughter to carry the bag out of a Tops supermarket.

The girl was stopped by a security guard, and the father was arrested.

Mitchell Thomas Jr., 56, of LaSalle Avenue, told police that he needed to feed his family and that the child did not know the circumstances when trying to leave the Portage Road store about 7:30 p.m.

The girl was turned over to Thomas' wife after Thomas was taken into custody. He was charged with petit larceny and endangering the welfare of a child, police said.

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